Watching cycling in Australia is very much like riding. The time difference to the rest of the world forces us to adopt a lifestyle of late nights and bleary eyed mornings as us dedicated fans adapt to the rigours of the major events leading up to the pinnacle grand event, the Tour de France. The lead up events are all good training. So far I am not doing too well, but I’m starting to get my legs in as I build up for July.
Warning – mixed metaphors coming – substitution of riding and watching will happen randomly in the following post.
The Giro d’Italia was a poor event for me. After sleeping in at the hotel on the first day i missed the time trial and was booted from the event before it even started. I rode bits of it courtesy of the highlights packages for the minor days and thanks to my media centre i was able to ride the extended longer weekend stages in most cases in one go. Riding after the actual race day though meant a lot of the ambience and excitement wasn’t there. No live twitter feed to cheer me on and no sag wagon to support. No race directors forcing me to stay on course meant a few short cuts occurred and in some cases allowed parts of the stages to be ridden over two days. Towards the end I did put in a marathon three days ride in one early morning and caught up to he field to ride the final two days with the actual race.
This meant I couldn’t compete in the Tour of California which runs at the same time. I did however ride it solo later on. Once again skipping many kilometres but making sure I completed the main mountain stages and time trial.
All this was getting me in good stead for the big event by getting miles into my lounge chair. The tour curtain raiser is the Criterium du Dauphine. I’m ashamed to say I missed the first five stages. With no real excuse either. Just missed them. Stage six was started well but unfortunately i was dropped by the bunch when Wiggens launched off the front of the peloton to drive across to Cadel Evans group. My fault – missing those first 5 stages meant i had no staying power. The race was over when I awoke and I had to back up to where I had left off. Unfortunately this happened three more times in the next 25 kms before I finished the race.
I have two more stages left this weekend to get my legs in. My biorhythms are changing slowly. Come July I hope to be in great form and able to stay with the bunch all the way through. Surely those rest days wont come soon enough. But the excitement, the dedication of all the other fans cheering at their TV screens all around Australia in the dead of the night as our heroes do battle for ultimate glory culminating in the finish on the Champs Elysees three weeks later is just incomparable to any thing else.
This time last year i had no idea that in just a few short weeks i would actually be in France living an absolute dream thanks to HTC. This year unless a miracle happens again I’ll be doing it from my armchair along with all my mates from #sbstdf and #sagwagon.
See you in the peloton.